Happy Sunday, guys!
This week we decided to head to Europe for our food adventure. We picked the Ukraine since it’s been on the news so much these days. Sad as their plight is as of late, we were seriously excited to take this challenge on this Sunday. I mean, who doesn’t absoutely love and adore a country who basically puts sour cream in everything!? AM I RIGHT? (I already know I am, but your validation of this point is priceless all the same).
THE DINNER: We basically had so much to choose from- and settled on a cucumber salad as it has an ironic twist of kismet that we loved. In finding recipes this week, I noticed this Ukrainian dish called “Spring Salad”…I was naturally intrigued because the picture looked just like a cucumber salad my mom makes through the warmer months. She’s been making this cucumber salad for what had pretty much been the entirety of my life and I’m sure dates well beyond my 25 yrs on this planet. I had to know more! Interestingly enough, it was sort of the same dish and we never knew! So, our side dish this week was a no-brainer.
Our main course was chosen because it sounded like fun! We decided to make dumplings! Neither one of us had ever made dumplings before and we could just imagine some darling little Ukrainian grandmother pinching these cute little dumplings together and we fell in love with it. The dumplings were called “Vushka” which means “little ear” in Ukrainian. They are totally darling little things indeed. No meat in the menu this week! These dumplings are flour based (not potato) and filled with this mushroom/breadcrumb/butter goodness. We were so very excited to fill them and stuff them… and it certainly was no where near as easy as it seems to stuff them and pinch them closed without having them lose it all in the boiling water. Some various things caused these to be tricky- mainly it was that the dough sometimes wouldn’t stick to itself or that we had accidentally overfilled them. Those problems were pretty much remedied with practice. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. They were scrumptious. They offered two choices on how to serve the Vushka (our new fav word around the house this week, by the way). One was in borscht and the other was to be served with sour cream and fried onions. We chose the later because it sounded so yummy. Sour cream, need I extrapolate more?
Vushka recipe: http://andrewzimmern.com/2013/10/08/vushka
Ukrainian Spring Salad Recipe: http://tour2go.com.ua/blog/ukrainian-cuisine-weekly-week-12-spring-salad-164.html
OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:
Ease of prep and cooking: TWO STARS out of five. This meal offered some challenges in dumpling making. It was very easy to cook though, just boil them till they float. Also the salad was a handful variety of easily chopped produce and the dressing was literally two ingredients. There was a slight learning curve with the assembly of the Vushka, but it wasn’t difficult at all.
Best dish of all time scale: FOUR stars out of five. We were all delighted with how well this one turned out. Dumplings smothered in sour cream and fried onions was not a mark to miss. They were flavorful and hearty. The salad (as my mom’s other salad typically is) was incredibly light and refreshing. This one was a great country. I could easily see us integrating it into our rotation of everyday food based solely on taste. BIG YUMMY noises coming from my dad at the table too.
Till next time,
We have picked out our country for 5/25 but….